When I checked out the Samsung Chromebook Plus, I called it too techy for normals, and too underpowered for enthusiasts. So the ChromeBook Pro is better in many ways, but it still does not have the power to do anything particularly impressive.
My first Sony phone was an Xperia Z3+ that I bought used, because at the time I really wanted to know what all of the Sony fanatics really loved about Xperias. I was really impressed with the device, until the screen unfortunately separated from the frame and the cost to repair it was more than I paid for the phone. I then bought an XZ last year, but was really not impressed with the somewhat antiquated design. This year, when the XZ2 was released, I was finally excited to relive the good days of the Z3+, with a fresh and modern design.
While the design met my high expectations, the experience with the XZ2 was quite a letdown.
At the beginning of this year, Huawei made many headlines with the release of the P20 Pro. The combination of striking design and an incredible 3-camera array on the rear led stole the spotlight from many other phones like the Galaxy S9. Reviews of the P20 Pro were largely positive, with pretty much the same story we’ve seen with most Huawei releases: the design, battery life, and cameras are all great, but the software is not. Meanwhile, the standard P20 flew under the radar, being regarded as a good phone but not a the game-changer like its bigger brother.
I’ve owned 3 or 4 XPS’s in the last couple years. My first high end laptop was an XPS 15z, which was one of the first thin all-metal designs they produced. Unfortunately, it was large, heavy, and I did not treat it well. It was much too heavy to carry around campus in my backpack, so it was quickly replaced with the Surface RT as soon as it came out. (The XPS line had 13-inch devices at the time as well, but I didn’t realize) In the last couple years, Dell has largely refined the XPS line into sleek and high end professional laptops. I would argue that the XPS 13 9350 started the bezelless trend that now is a norm among modern laptops.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t all that impressed with the XPS 13 9360. Despite having a small X-Y footprint, it was thicker than many competing devices such as the Surface Laptop or the HP Spectre. Within the same year, Dell released another iteration of the XPS line in the 9370, which had the same specifications but a new and improved chassis. Although many were critical of what they thought was a sidestep, I’m ready to call this one of the best clamshell laptops I’ve used this year.
Other than the Yoga 720 I tested earlier this year, I haven’t gotten the opportunity to test many consumer Lenovo laptops. The Yoga 900 series has always been interesting to me, since it draws its roots to the same era as the first Surface. I managed to get a 14 inch model of the Yoga 920, in a pretty copper color. All in all, I don’t think I was missing much.
While the thinner and lighter trend has been going on for some time now, and I’ve been impressed by how thin some devices (such as the Macbook 12″, or the Huawei MateBook X) have gotten, I really haven’t been quite as impressed with how light devices have gotten. It seems like most manufacturers are taking the route of densely packing components into a heavy small metal shell, and even though I find the engineering impressive, often the result is a quite heavy device for its size.
Enter the LG Gram.
I first purchased the Huawei Mate 9 in January of 2017. I was incredibly excited for the first launch of a flagship Huawei phone in the US. Unfortunately, compared to my P9 Plus, P9, and even my Honor 8, the Mate 9 did not fair well. It was mostly hampered by software bugs that were clearly a side affect of a phone not prepared for a US launch. Within two weeks of purchasing the phone, I returned it to Best Buy and went back to my Note 5.
Now nearly two years after its release, the Mate 9 has fallen out of the limelight. It’s largely forgotten in the eyes of the tech press, as most two year old phones are. With the Mate 10 Pro and now the Mate 20 Pro, Huawei has joined the club of manufacturers producing sleek, glass phones with small bezels and screen notches.
I was lucky enough to come across a Mate 9 at a deep discount, and I decided to drop my SIM card and see just how well it fares against its more modern competitors.